Maidens Of The Silver: Bloodlines - #02

by Jersey D Gibson

      Crois Deliquiox sat in her new room, awashed in her new privacy. Having moved from Acolyte to Maiden, she now merited her own small personal room. Something she never had before, not even as a child growing up. It was fascinating and scary at the same time. The bed she was on was a single, not the double bunk she was used to. The mattress was goose feathers too, not a pad.

      Crois looked at the wooden box, thinking of the pistol inside. She had train with the old matchlock pistol, and had fired the flintlock. She knew how to break it down and put it back together, but now she had one of her own. Hers. It gave her shivers. She knew what it meant to become a Maiden, and what happened on the Second Naming Day, but it was surreal to her.

      The young woman felt the torque around her neck, its’ new weight comforting. Her new clothes were befitting of a Maiden as well. She wore a pure white cloak with silver trim, with grey cotton surcoat, white breaches and leggings, and black soft leather boots. The new scarf wound around her neck, pure white, symbolizing how new she was. She didn’t mind; the achievement of becoming a Maiden was still fresh to her, more than any honor of duty or courage. Crois had accomplished something she strove for as long as she could remember.

      Picking up the wooden box, Crois left her new room, remembering to lock the door, pocketing the key; something she wasn’t used to. The new Maiden walked down the hallways reserved for Maidens, going through the temple to the Armory.

      While it was the Faith and the Temple that the Maidens got their guidance, it was the Armory that the Maidens drew their power. A large foundry was located near the Temple, where smelting, smithing, and the new magic called manufacturing was made. The Goddess of Time told upon the First Maiden Arya to bring Man back from the darkness of barbarianism, anarchy, and evil. With the muscles of men, and the minds of wise ones, alchemists, forgers, and madmen, those new Maidens welded new weapons on a decadent world. After years of research, trial and error, and improvements, the matchlock rifle was made, called the arbequist. A few years of perfection made the matchlock pistol, though much longer than the flintlock Crois carried with her now.

      Now, two hundred years later, many new innovations have come from the Temples of Time, where the Maidens follow the Will of the Lords. Cannons, siege engines, magnifying glasses, eye pieces, molds, canning practices, iron wheels, new metals; like steel, were all invented by the Armory. New things were brought out, tested, and sold off to the people. Some were weapons, usually left to the Maidens and in the hands they deemed good. Others were new inventions that could help mankind, like canning foods for longer storage. Others were interesting enough, but without a lot of practical use. A monk had invented a black mold substance from tar, oil, and some other concoction. The monk made grandiose claims, calling the weird thick solid ‘rubber’, but no one had figured out the use for it yet.

      Crois walked through the Armory, the normal hustle and bustle slowing her down as she approached the leatherworking section. In this section, Crois entered into a large room full of tanned hides, leathers, skins, furs, and other forms of fabric she couldn’t begin to describe. Saddles, leather armor, boots, clothing, drums, all forms of different items sat in this shop, but all of these Crois wasn’t interested in.

      “What der yer want?” A gruff voice came from a bench, where a grizzly old man worked with needle and thread, piecing together leather into hard leather armor, his eyes never leaving his work.

      “I am looking for two items, Master Tanner.” Crois said softly. After years of rigid rules and rigid training, the new Maiden still spoke softly. But now she carried with her a big stick, as the saying goes.

      Master Tanner, as he was known by, looked up from his needlework. He peered at the young woman waiting on the other side of the workbench, measuring her with a trained eye. “I don’t think dis here armor fit yer well, missy.” Setting the unfinished work on the wooden bench, the old man got up, taking with him a cane, his back hunched over. Walking over to the young woman in white, he looked up to her, his bent back making him almost two heads smaller.

      “While your offer is grateful, I have not come for armor, Master Tanner. I am looking for a belt, and a holster.” Crois said to the old man. The old man gave a gruff ‘harrumph!’, and pulled out of a pocket a thick string with black marks on it.

      “A new Maiden, eh?” Tanner said, unwinding the string. “Little ona young side, aren’t yer?” He pulled the string apart, arms length away. “Well, don’t be shy wid me, missy! Off with da cloak and raise your arms!”

      Crois unhooked the cloak off her shoulders, taking the scarf off as well. Setting them aside neatly, she raised her arms to shoulder level, outward from her body. The old man hobbled up to her, cane in hand, the string going around her waist, counting the black marks around her waist. He did it again around her hips. He wrote down both measurements on his hand with a stubby grease quill he kept above his ear. Then the old man measured Crois height from her hips to her shoulders, then her arm length. ‘Harumpf’ing again, he wrote down those measurements again, spinning the string back into a coil, pocketing it.

      “Yer can put yer arms down, now, missy.” The old man hobbled back, going towards a section where long strips of hide and leather laid. “What type of leather would yer like?”

      “Soft, pliable. I apologize, I’m afraid I don’t know enough about leatherworkings, Master Tanner.” The young woman exclaimed.

      “Bah! Don’t know enough? Dat be alright, dat why I’m here fer yer.” The old man felt though many of the belts, finally coming to one that seemed to please him. “Da! Dis be the one fer yer!” Master Tanner pulled out one long belt, dark green in color; it seems to refract light off of it in a certain way. The old man caned his way back to Crois, handing her the belt. She took it from him; feeling the scales on the belt, smooth, hard, yet supple.

      “What… is it?” The young woman asked.

      “Snake skin, it is. A hunter brought back a large python, and I made dat der belt with its' skin. It won’t rip or tear, and it will last yer a long time. Perfect fer yer.” The old man said with a grizzly smile. Crois felt the belt, slipping it around her waist, feeling its strength. She hooked it on the loop, tightening it. A small smile came to her lips.

      “It will more that suffice, Master Tanner.” Crois went back to her cloak, pulling the wooden box from it. She moved back to the old man, handing the box over to him. “I also need the holster to fit this.”

      “Give me a few minutes, missy, and I’ll work one out fer yer.” The Master Tanner moved to a small room in his section. Pulling out some hard leather, he folded it, taking a thick needle and thread, sewing the seam. His hands worked fast and sure, the needlework both fine and versatile. Then he took two smaller strips, laying then one what Crois deemed was the backside of the holster.

      “How do yer draw?” The old man asked.

      “Crossover, right handed.” The young woman answered. The old man set the thin strips on the holster, where the holster would be angled. When his work was done, he handed the holster to the young woman. Holding it in her hand, she took the pistol from the box and fitted the weapon into it. It fit perfectly, snug, but easy to draw.

      “Thank you, Master Tanner.” The woman in white said.


Author's Note: Chapter 03

Posted on 05/29/2006
Copyright © 2024 Jersey D Gibson

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Karl Waldbauer on 11/15/06 at 06:30 AM

I'm hooked!

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